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Niall Kelly goal helps strong Kildare side to O'Byrne Cup win over Longford

The Lilywhites are up and running for 2017.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Kildare 1-15

Longford 0-12

KILDARE GOT THEIR 2017 campaign up and running with a confident six point victory over Longford in the first round of the O’Byrne Cup.

Niall Kelly’s 29th minute goal gave the Lilywhites a 1-7 to 0-7 interval lead, and with Fionn Dowling and Neil Flynn among the scorers they never looked like surrendering that advantage in the second half.

Cian O’Neill named a strong starting XV for the tie at St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge, with the likes of Peter Kelly, Fergal Conway, Keith Cribbin and Niall Kelly included.

Longford too had plenty of experienced players in action, as Barry McKeon, Robbie Smyth, Sean McCormack and Mark Hughes were among the big names to start.

Longford started brightly and were three points to the good (0-6 to 0-3) after the opening 20 minutes of action with McCormack and Smyth on target.

But Kildare rallied before the interval and posted 1-4 in the last 10 minutes of the opening half to turn the game on its head. Kelly’s goal, aided by three Fionn Dowling scores, handed O’Neill’s men control at the break.

The home side kicked the first three points of the second period to move seven points clear, as Ben McCormack, Dowling and Flynn raised the white flags.

From that point it was plain sailing for Kildare, despite the best efforts of Longford duo McCormack and Smyth who finished with 0-10 between them.

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Kevin O'Brien

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